The Be More Challenge invites artists and art teachers and facilitators to take action for environmental and social justice by thinking about how their work can evolve within a social justice framework. Challenges are designed to become impetus for action that is facilitated by an online social networking website.
Through the Be More portal, Caritas has proffered 5 challenges – personal, family, local, national and global.
The Work of Caritas Australia
Caritas Australia’s primary work is to “encourage self reliance via development programs, disaster response, as well as raising awareness and changing attitudes here in Australia about global issues.”
They work in schools, universities, parishes and community groups around Australia to “raise awareness of the reality and causes of poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice and the interdependence of poverty and affluence.”
The Be Creative Tools of Communication
The challenge for artists is to be creative when thinking about how to become instruments of awareness and proactive campaigners for change. Caritas asks participants to not only be proactive in the way they live in the world, but to be an active voice for change in the world itself.
On the website there is a gallery and multi-media section where artists can upload creative statements and projects. To be sure the artistic content is on topic, it will be moderated and then uploaded for contributors. Participants will know that their message is on target if they have been exploring issues of social justice or playing with ideas about how to be more respectful of the environment. To get a feel for the creative flow evolving on the site, it is advised to participate on the discussion boards
The Idea behind Be More
Caritas Australia has been inspired by the writings of Oscar Romero, and in keeping with his philosophy, they are calling Australians to aspire not to have more but to BE MORE. “The Be More Challenge is aimed at tackling global poverty and injustice by ‘doing’ justice.”
Because artists can express the ineffable, and because they think creatively, they can often portray injustices that seem big and difficult to solve in a way that makes others think harder and more creatively about the issues, realising that they too can make a difference.
The idea behind the online social change network is to empower the ordinary bloke in the street to realise that he too can be an agent of change. The visibility of the network and the accessibility of an empowering community of “co creators,” is designed to be empowering. Seeing what others are doing, and seeing how successful people can be, even with scant resources, causes viewers to realise that they too have the power, the access to information and the educational resources to bring about positive transformation on many levels. This visibility of interconnectedness will help facilitators reason that “together we can make the world better.”
A Unique Opportunity for Creative Arts Teachers
Creative arts teachers can link up through this site and talk with each other about how they can design empowering lessons. Projects can be devised, which will encourage students to
- be more just
- be more aware
- be more giving
- be more together
- be more green
- be more loving
- ultimately be more human
Interaction with the website, and the community behind it, offers the potential for empowering creative arts students by showing them that their work is important. They will be confident that their work is reaching a receptive audience, and that they are not alone in expression of their concerns about the future of humanity and the world.
The Caritas staff are open to the idea of uploading lessons and resources created by teachers, so that others can share project innovations and trial new and exciting ideas. The Be More website is also be a great place for student teachers to discuss how to develop empowering curriculum design and to gain feedback about lesson ideas.